Is Paul McCartney Going to Stop Touring to Help the Environment?

Even legends run out of steam sometimes. Sir Paul McCartney is one of the biggest names in classic rock and he’s had a long career. This raises an interesting question: Is he planning on retiring from touring?

Paul McCartney playing acoustic guitar | Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images

How Paul McCartney feels about touring

Paul is known for his environmental views and activism. He’s been interested in animal welfare since he was a youngster. In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Sarah Montague and McCartney discussed carbon footprints, reports Alternative Nation.

Touring harms the environment and increases an artist’s carbon footprint.We are living in times when celebrities seem to be ever more conscious of the environment. Will Paul continue to tour given the impact of touring on the environment ?

Apparently, he is willing to continue touring. He told Montague “I am aware of [his carbon footprint], and you do your best. But, it is very difficult if you’re going to tour.

Paul McCartney in 1984 | Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images

Paul elaborated “I am going to go on tour in America. You can’t say… ‘we’ll go by Greyhound Bus,’ because that’s just as bad! We certainly can’t just bike our way around.”

Discussing his carbon footprint, Paul said “It’s a reality, you just have to do it, and plant a lot of trees… that’s kind of how I offset it, is by doing things that will make up for it. If I tour, that’s going to involve travel, which is going to involve a carbon footprint.”

A rock legend stands up to climate change

Although he’s committed to touring, Paul is still concerned about climate change. The BBC reports Paul released a song called “Despite Repeated Warnings” on his album Egypt Station. The song attacks climate change deniers with the allegorical lyrics “Despite repeated warnings/Our danger’s up ahead/While the captain wasn’t listening/To what was said.”

Paul McCartney sitting on a couch | Michael Ward/Getty Images

On first listen, the song appears to dramatize a Titanic-style naval disaster. However, it’s really about world leaders who refuse to listen to the scientific consensus on climate change and continue to thrust humanity down a dark path. Paul’s lyrics are often sweet and direct (see “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Wonderful Christmastime”), but this song serves as interesting social commentary in the vein of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Paul discussed the song, saying “People who deny climate change… I just think it’s the most stupid thing ever. So I just wanted to make a song that would talk about that and basically say, ‘Occasionally, we’ve got a mad captain sailing this boat we’re all on and he is just going to take us to the iceberg [despite] being warned it’s not a cool idea.’”

Although climate change is not going to stop Paul from touring, he admitted he considered retirement at one point. AXS reports McCartney said “I mean, I had those thoughts at 65.” Referring to the Rolling Stones, Paul said “I’m giving them the confidence to go out there. They’re looking at Macca and saying, ‘If he can still do it …’ We’ve all realized we love playing. And we happen to be good at it.”